Sermon: The Annunciation

The podcast is available here.

The Annunciation was actually this past Monday, but it is such a significant event that we would be remiss in not celebrating it, even if it does fall so close to Holy Week; however, unless you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, it doesn’t have that much meaning.  And if you don’t, then I’ll never be able to convince you otherwise, but if you do…

The angel Gabriel told Mary two things were going to take place in order for her to conceive.  First, the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and second, the Most High God would overshadow her.  That is, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the power of God descending, she would conceive and the child would be the Son of the Most High.  Mary’s response to all this was her fiat: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to Your word.”  God would have found another way had she refused, but none of this would have taken place unless Mary had first said, Yes.

For me, it happened in just such a manner.  I may find myself struggling to understand much of Holy Scripture, but believing in the virgin birth comes as naturally to me as breathing.  For us, it may seem impossible, but as Jesus says, “With God all things are possible.”  

What happened with Mary is what always happens when God decides to act in a person’s life.  We say, yes, to him, his power overshadows, his Holy Spirit makes its home within, and we become a new creation, with the Son of the Most High God being born within us.  What was impossible for us is possible for God.  That is, we become heirs and co-heirs of the Kingdom of God with Jesus. 

Saint Ambrose once preached: “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit after conceiving a son; Mary was filled before. ‘You are blessed,’ said Elizabeth to Mary, ‘because you have believed.’”  Speaking to his congregation, Ambrose said, “You too are blessed because you have heard and believed. The soul of every believer conceives and brings forth the Word of God and recognizes His works. Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to glorify the Lord. Let her spirit be in each one of you to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one Mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ by faith. Every soul free from contamination of sin and safe in its purity can receive the Word of God.”

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and cherish it in their heart.  When God comes calling, always say, Yes.  And allow Him to accomplish what you never dreamed or imagined.

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